sPiN­NiNg thorNs

Fairy­tale ro­mance

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 10 de­cem­ber 368 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook Au­thor anna shee­han Pub­lisher Gol­lancz

Hap­pily ever af­ter is all very well. But what hap­pens af­ter the princess awakes and the sto­ry­tellers head home?

The king­dom of Lyn­daria is strug­gling. Af­ter the hun­dredyear “in­ter­reg­num” the econ­omy is ru­ined, the land is still be­holden to a greedy king and the killer thorns around the palace are not any friend­lier now the princess is awake. Sleep­ing Beauty is mar­ried with two chil­dren, but younger daugh­ter Wil­low (“Will”) is not a happy royal: un­gainly, in love with her sis­ter’s fi­ancé and practising magic in a coun­try still sus­pi­cious of it. Search­ing for spells, she meets a fel­low ma­gi­cian, who she thinks of as “Rey­nard”, but who’s ac­tu­ally a Name­less faerie, per­se­cuted and home­less and blam­ing the roy­als for all the hard­ships his fam­ily has en­dured.

Slow to start but quickly cap­ti­vat­ing, this be­yond-the­fairy­tale ro­mance fea­tures two peo­ple both un­happy but still ded­i­cated to some­thing more than them­selves. And while Rey­nard’s rage against Will and her fam­ily never quite feels as pas­sion­ate as it’s de­scribed, their de­vel­op­ing friend­ship feels sweet and raw and real. There’s noth­ing star­tlingly new and orig­i­nal here, but there’s a com­pelling fairy­tale for those who like to peek be­yond the ever af­ter. Rhian Drinkwa­ter

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